My 12 Favorite “Reveals” from TV and Movies
When I discussed the Family Guy/Simpsons crossover the other day, I noted how much I loved the “reveal” that the Griffin’s had arrived in Springfield. I said it was just beautiful and one of my favorite reveals ever (haven’t seen it? Check out a clip HERE)
Then I got to thinking about other reveals from movies and TV that brought a huge smile to my face. When I say “reveal” I am referring to a moment in a TV show or movie where the audience is shown something they weren’t expecting or are told some secret information that is finally being brought to light. When done correctly, these moments are filled with wonder and surprise (and humor) and usually become very remembered, even famous, afterwards. Sometimes the reveal is no real shock but when done right it is still surprising and memorable. Sometimes the fact there will be a reveal is no secret and so we tune in (or go see the movie) with eager anticipation. And other times creators will throw a total curve, and surprise us with something we never thought we would see but man are we thrilled to see it!
Here are some examples of what I am talking about, in no particular order (except the last one).
This one is obscure but I decided to include it. Soap Opera’s are no stranger to reveals. You could probably write a book of all the times that some show revealed a villain or some other surprise. But one of my favorites came from an NBC soap called Passions. This show had may gimmicks, and one was that the head of the Crane household named Alasdair was always seen waist down or from behind. For several years we all wondered what this guy looked like. Finally needs of the story necessitated the face be shown, and the reveal is very lovely. It’s quick but does the job. See it HERE
Of course this gimmick of hiding a face has been done in all kind of other shows, some doing a reveal and others not. Home Improvement never did show us Wilson’s face,Â or Vera on Cheers, but we did eventually see what Alan Brady looked like on The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Nanny did finally let us see what Fran’s father, whose face was always hidden, looked like. I couldn’t find a clip but he looked an awful like Steve Lawrence.Â We never saw Charlie on Charlie’s Angels but Magnum P.I. did finally reveal that Robin Masters was Higgins all along…..or was it?
One of the biggest reveals in any movie is that of the villain. It’s important to set up how awesome the villain is, but some movies do it better than others. The Batman movies all had good reveals, but the best and my favorite is from the classic movie, when we first see The Joker. Jack Nicholson owned this part and it shows. At first we never really see Joker’s face, until this scene I have below. Truth is, it’s almost ruined because despite the shadows his face is clearly visible. Still, as I said Nicholson owns it and therefore this is one of the best villain reveals, in my opinion. See it HERE
I chose to include this one even though it was no surprise to the audience. For years Snuffy was Big Bird’s friend, but no one else ever saw him. Big Bird would try to tell the others but they always believed Big Bird was making him up. A Snuffleupugus? Please! However when the creators realized hat was sending the wrong message (you want to encourage kids and believe them), it was decided to make him public knowledge. So, with Elmo’s help Big Bird sets up a trap so the others can all see that there is, in fact, a Snuffy. It’s a well done moment given lots of weight for Sesame Street and I love how the others do apologize to Big Bird for never believing him.
For some reason the clip jumps right to the reactions and leaves off the part where Big Bird sets his trap and then wonders what is happening. That is why he comes in the way he does. Enjoy!
It has the been the biggest question that was never answered. What in the world is Kramer’s first name? After five years no one had any clue! Until one episode when Kramer needs to ask his mother to do a favor for George. The name slips out, and the following scene shows George gleefully sharing this info with his friends. Cosmo????
See it HERE (sorry about the clip best I could find)
There were lots of these. Ross’s feelings for Rachel being revealed. Rachel’s feelings likewise for him being revealed. The reveal that Rachel was pregnant and then that Ross was the father. But I think the best, and my favorite, comes from the final episode. After Ross has tried and failed to tell Rachel he loved her he returns home. On the machine is a message from Rachel, and as she talks it becomes clear she does love Ross. The message cuts off and Ross is frantic trying to find out if she made it off the plane. In a well staged moment, we hear Rachel off screen say that she had. This worked so well, I think, because for once the audience was just as in the dark as Ross was. So we were just happily surprised to see Rachel standing there.
See it HERE
Back to the Future
This movie seems like a run in the mill family comedy. That is until Marty arrives at the mall one night, and sees a truck waiting. What’s in the truck? That’s what Marty, and the audience, wonder as the door slowly opens. The music is perfect along with Marty’s reaction. Out comes a sleek looking car, and then the door pops open as Doc Brown emerges. The reveal of the Delorean and Doc Brown is one of the strongest moments in the whole movie. If we aren’t interested in what is in that truck then the rest of the movie may fail. But the scene is done perfectly and sets the tone for the wonder to come. This is topped seconds later when we see the time machine in action. God I love this movie! One of the many reasons this movie works is that fact that Marty is reacting just as the audience does to everything he experiences, it really feels like we’re along for the ride.
See it HERE
I’m to young to remember but when Empire Strikes Back was being released, it was apparently common knowledge that there would be a huge secret revealed in the movie. Security on he film was tight and even many in the cast didn’t know what the big secret was! What was that secret? Yeah like you don’t know. The scene where Vader reveals that he is, in fact, Luke’s father has become so famous (and parodied) that the moment is nearly iconic. It works because not only was it a surprise (no one guessed that at the time) but Luke’s reaction is he perfect mix of drama and hammy.Â By the way some might also point to the reveal in Jedi that Leia was in fact Luke’s sister, and while nice it just stand up to the the beauty of the scene in Empire.
See it HERE
Sitcoms have lots of reveals, like when a character announces she is pregnant for example. But one of the biggest and most famous had to be from the series Ellen. When Ellen announced she was gay. This was hyped so much, and everyone was watching. The question was, how could she do such a serious reveal in a way that would also get a laugh? Well leave it to Ellen Degeneres to figure it out. It involves an airport and a PA system, and if you’ve never seen this check it out. One of the best reveals ever.
See it HERE
I could have made this whole list just Star Trek reveals (Picard as a Borg, Kirk alive in Amok Time, Khan in TWOK just to name a few) but I chose to single out this one. And this one from The Defector is definitely a favorite. The plot is that a Romulan has defected and insists there is a secret base where his people are planing to launch an attack. The Enterprise finally goes to check, and finds only a trap set by the Romulans. It loos like they are done, until Picard places his ace in the sleeve. Suddenly three Klingon war birds decloack, and instantly the Romulans are the one’s outgunned. One of the best moments ever!
See it HERE
Planet of the APES
This one is just flat out classic. Even though I was never a fan of the film series, you gotta love the ending when we discover what planet George Taylor has been on this whole time. Earth! How is this revealed? He stumbles onto the remains of the Statue of Liberty! Not much else to say, nice twist and well acted by Charlton Heston. Great moment.
See it HERE
Sometimes the reveal isn’t a thing or a person, it’s a trick by the hero to outwit the villain. I already talked about one example in TNG, and here’s another I love. I’ve had issues with this movie, but the reveal of how Superman outwits Zod was just one of my favorites. It seems like all is lost when Superman enters a chamber meant to remove his powers. Not quite.Â I especially love how Luthor puts the pieces together. Hackman was great. This is one of my favorite Superman moments, period.
See it HERE
Star Trek IV
For me personally, nothing..NOTHING..compares to this one. I wish I could convey what seeing this movie for the first time was like. It was a unique experience, watching it with a crowd of people who were true fans. It was like watching it with fifty friends, all laughing and cheering. But the greatest moment of them all was the end, when we see what ship Kirk and crew were getting assigned. The shuttle clears the excelsior, and there it is! THE ENTERPRISE A!Â HELL YEAH! Just a beautiful scene with the TV show theme music and all. It’s hard to believe now but whether or not we would ever see an Enterprise again was a legit question. Here was our answer, they slapped an “A” on the number. And yes today this scene would nitpicked to death. Why would hey rebuild it? When did they rebuild? Was this the plan all along? But it was 1986 and things were simpler. We saw that ship and APPLAUDED!Â I LOVE THIS MOMENT. For me, it the most epic reveal of all time
See it HERE
Finally, we have had some great reveals from Channel Awesome too. Like when it was revealed that 90’s Kid was the Entity on AT4W. But theÂ best has to be the reveal that Nostalgia Critic was back. One of my favorite moments ever came from “The Review Must Go On”, still one of the best things I have EVER seen.
Now I can imagine that I have missed dozens of examples that you guys also love. So comment and share.
I loved writing this one my friends.